Writing. Getting started -- Short assignments -- Shitty first drafts -- Perfectionism -- School lunches -- Polaroids -- Character -- Plot -- Dialogue -- Set design -- False starts -- Plot treatment -- How do you know when you're done? -- The writing frame of mind. Looking around -- The moral point of view -- Broccoli -- Radio Station KFKD -- Jealousy -- Help along the way. Index cards -- Calling around -- Writing groups -- Someone to read your drafts -- Letters -- Writer's block -- Publication and other reasons to write. Writing a present -- Finding your voice -- Giving -- Publication -- The last class
"Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he'd had three months to write [It] was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother's shoulder, and said, 'Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.'"
With this basic instruction always in mind, Anne Lamott returns to offer us a new gift: a step-by-step guide on how to write and on how to manage the writer's life. From "Getting Started," with "Short Assignments," through "Shitty First Drafts," "Character," "Plot," "Dialogue," all the way from "False Starts" to "How Do You Know When You're Done?" Lamott encourages, instructs, and inspires. She discusses "Writer's Block," "Writing Groups," and "Publication." Bracingly honest, she is also one of the funniest people alive. If you have ever wondered what it takes to be a writer, what it means to be a writer, what the contents of your school lunches said about what your parents were really like, this book's for you. From faith, love, and grace to pain, jealousy, and fear, Lamott insists that you keep your eyes open, and then shows you how to survive. And always, from the life of the artist she turns to the art of life